U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Miracles Happen: The Birth of Narcotics Anonymous in Worlds and Pictures, Revised

NCJ Number
Date Published
109 pages
This history in words and pictures of the first three decades of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is intended to inform members and newcomers of the hardships and triumphs of the early development of this nonprofit fellowship/society that provides guidance and support for drug addicts who are committed to living a drug-free life.
The introduction presents a historical review of drug use in the United States in the 20th century, with attention to the criminalization of drug addiction and limited treatment options available to addicts. Opened in the late 1930s, the U.S. Public Health Service Hospitals in Lexington, KY, and Ft. Worth, TX, were the only "treatment facilities" available for addicts. Without going into detail on the history of Alcoholic Anonymous (AA), the book recognizes AA's relevance to the development of NA. It was AA and its 12 steps that provided the spark for NA. The first NA meeting held outside prison walls occurred in 1950 at a YMCA in New York City. The focus of this early version of NA's first four steps was on the individual developing the inner strength to face the suffering of withdrawal and the fears of being without drugs. The next few steps required that the addict find someone to assist him, admit his shortcomings to the NA group along with an explanation of what steps are being taken to overcome them, share with others his successes, and determine a purpose in life. The thirteenth step simply stated, "God help me." The book recounts the early years of NA and its responses to drug use trends and laws. NA's development in California is covered in one section. The book then proceeds to review NA's expansion into other countries worldwide, reviewing the proceedings of each of the seven World Conventions. 31 notes and 21 references